Turkey coup attempt: 543 more court officials sacked

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, 30 August Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Erdogan said the dismissals would not weaken the judiciary

A further 543 judges and prosecutors have been sacked in Turkey, bringing the number of dismissals since July's failed coup to at least 3,288.

The new dismissals were reported as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan celebrated the start of the new judicial year in Ankara.

He told an audience the purge would "enhance" the judiciary's independence.

Meanwhile Turkey's prime minister appeared to accuse EU states of backing the coup as he received a delegation.

At least 35,000 people have been detained for questioning since 15 July, over 3,000 of them judges or prosecutors.

Soldiers, police officers and journalists are also among those detained. Tens of thousands more have been dismissed from their jobs.

The government blames the coup on followers of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of Mr Erdogan. He denies any involvement.

More than 270 people died in events surrounding the coup attempt.

'Substantial justice'

Speaking at the presidential palace on the capital Ankara, Mr Erdogan insisted the new dismissals would not weaken the judiciary.

"On the contrary, it will seriously help to ensure substantial justice," he told an audience including judges and prosecutors.

"The duty of our judges, prosecutors and solicitors is to work to dispense justice as perfectly as possible."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Yildirim (left) in conversation with Mr Schulz in Ankara

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim met the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, in Ankara on Thursday.

Relations between Turkey and the EU have soured over European criticism of Turkey's perceived failings to protect human rights and democracy.

"We all know that there are some countries which make every kind of criticism on any small issue about democratic values," Mr Yildirim said.

"The same countries remain unable to defend democracy when they see an activity aimed directly at destroying democracy and, to say the least, they remain silent.

"They showed a pro-coup profile. That is regrettable. We never accept double standards in the protection of democratic values."